Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Grass Clippings Bad for Horses - Full Article

Are you tempted to cut your grass, then rake it into soft, fragrant, tasty piles of clippings for your horse to nibble? According to a press release issued by the United States Equestrian Federation, this should be the last thing you encourage your horse to eat. It has to do with that extra step: raking.

Grass clippings that stay on the pasture after mowing, where they can dry in small amounts, are generally not a problem. But never gather them into piles to feed them to your horse...

Read more here:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Snakebite! - Full Article

It’s the stuff nightmares of made of. In many parts of the U.S., summer is the season when snakes are most visible and when horses are most likely to encounter them.

The good news is that even poisonous snake bites are rarely fatal, especially if treated carefully and immediately. If you wait, however, a snake bite can lead to tissue damage, or worse, obstruction of the airway. The treatment will also depend on where your horse was bitten.

Here’s what to do if you suspect snake bite:

1. Call the vet! (If you’re on the trail, ask your vet to meet you there, if possible).
2. Keep the horse as calm as possible. If he (or you) panics, it will speed up his circulation, which increases the speed of the venom in his circulatory system. Walk him slowly back to his barn or trailer.
3. If you have a six-inch length of tube or garden hose, lubricate it with Vaseline and insert it in his nostril to allow him to keep breathing, even if his airway begins to swell...

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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

When the rider is hot, the horse is a lot hotter - Full Article

By Teresa Pitman

A hot humid day. One rider. One horse. Both are exercising at a moderate level. Who is more likely to overheat?

It might surprise you to know that your horse gets hotter much faster than you and is more susceptible to the negative effects of heat stress.

“It only takes 17 minutes of moderate intensity exercise in hot, humid weather to raise a horse’s temperature to dangerous levels,” Prof. Michael Lindinger, an animal and exercise physiologist at the University of Guelph, explained. “That’s three to 10 times faster than in humans. Horses feel the heat much worse than we do.”

And the effects can be serious. If a horse’s body temperature shoots up from the normal 37 to 38 C to 41 C, temperatures within working muscles may be as high as 43 C, a temperature at which proteins in muscle begin to denature (cook). Horses suffering excessive heat stress may experience hypotension, colic and renal failure...

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Friday, July 02, 2010

Endurance & barefoot hoof management: soft country feet

Duncan's blog at
by Duncan McLaughlin

Who wants soft-country feet? Not me! Until recently I lived in an area that was perfect for barefooting. Hard, dry, often rocky terrain meant achieving gravel-crunching soundness was possible for a majority of horses. Last November, I moved to an area with much higher rainfall and with rich, deep, often wet topsoil; perfect for dairy farming (with energy-rich grasses like kikuyu and paspalum) but not ideal for developing solid functional horse hooves.

Large areas of my paddocks have standing water for weeks on end. Even where they are dry, the soil is either soft and sandy or wet and muddy. The horses are often standing in water for hours, even days, at a time.

Not surprisingly, these conditions are renowned for producing soft, undeveloped feet that are prone to infections. Thrush and seedy toe/white line disease are common in this area and hoofwall separation is almost a given. These were pathologies I almost never experienced in my work as a trimmer in the hard, dry country where I used to live. However, I thought this new environment would be a great opportunity to test a basic tenet of barefoot hoof-care: if the biomechanics and physiology of a hoof are correct, then biomechanical stress – such as hoof wall separation – and physiological stress – such as thrush and seedy-toe – should not manifest.

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American Horse Council Highlights Recreational Riding

American Horse Council

On Tuesday June 22, the American Horse Council (AHC) held its first Recreation Forum in Washington , DC to highlight issues of importance to recreational riders. The forum was attended by representatives from national equestrian organizations, state horse council’s from around the country, as well as individual recreational riders.

The forum began with a presentation by Stephanie McCommon of the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA). McCommon, briefed attendees on AQHA’s Stewards for Trails, Education and Partnerships (STEP) program which seeks to “increase participation in trail stewardship among equine enthusiasts.” The forum continued with a presentation by Dennis Dailey of Backcountry Horsemen of America (BCHA). Dailey spoke on the U.S. Forest Service’s Trail Classification System and its impact on equestrians in National Forests.

The forum also included two enlightening panel discussions. The first panel focused on the benefits of equestrians building better partnerships with other traditional recreational users and conservationists. The panel featured Kim Hutson de Belle of the American Hiking Society (AHS) and Anne Merwin of the Wilderness Society (TWS) as well as Dennis Dailey, BCHA. The panel discussed many important issues including declining numbers of Americans recreating in the outdoors and its impact on conservation, the need to link public and private lands with trail easements, and the challenges equestrians, hiking and conservation groups face when working together.

“The equestrian, hiking and conservation community have many shared interest. I believe Tuesday’s discussion demonstrated that these shared interest are being recognized and great progress is being made in efforts to work together,” said Ben Pendergrass Legislative Director of the AHC.

The second panel focused on building better relationships between equestrians and federal land mangers. The panel included Rick Potts, Chief, Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Division, National Park Service (NPS), Bob Ratcliffe, Division Chief, Recreation and Visitor Services, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Jonathan Stephens Program Manager, Congressionally Designated Areas and Trails, National Forest Service (FS). Topics included the need for equestrians to build relationships with their local federal land mangers before problems arise, the backlog of trails and facility maintenance, the Presidents America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, and efforts to preserve traditional recreational uses.

The forum wrapped up with Ginny Grulke of the Kentucky State Horse Council discussing the challenges faced by trail riders in Kentucky on the state level and how they have been responding.

“Recreational riding is important to millions of Americans and these Americans rely on public lands and trails to ride. The AHC believes it was important to bring equestrians, leaders from NPS, FS, BLM, and AHS, TWS together in Washington to talk about recreational riding and our public lands,” said AHC Legislative Director Ben Pendergrass. “We are very happy with the outcome of the Recreation Forum and believe it is a positive step in ensuring recreational riders continue to support and have access to our nation’s public lands.”

Contact: Bridget Harrison

As the national association representing all segments of the horse industry in Washington, D.C., the American Horse Council works daily to represent equine interests and opportunities. The AHC promotes and protects the industry by communicating with Congress, federal agencies, the media and the industry on behalf of all horse related interests each and every day.

The AHC is member supported by individuals and organizations representing virtually every facet of the horse world from owners, breeders, veterinarians, farriers, breed registries and horsemen's associations to horse shows, race tracks, rodeos, commercial suppliers and state horse councils.